It’s Official: Gandalf Fails to Cover the Spread


goodfellasJerry Brown won’t be sworn in for another three weeks, but he’s already managed the first massive failure of his fourth and final term as California’s governor: blowing his bid to cover the 20-point spread set by Calbuzz as the betting line for his re-election.

Outgoing Secretary of State Debra Bowen on Friday issued her final canvass, the “full, true and correct statement” of election results, which shows these final, final, final vote totals in Brown’s trouncing of Republican bum-of-the-month Neel Kashkari:

Brown    4,388,368     (59.970201%)
Kashkari 2,929,213    (40.029799%)

In other words, Governor Gandalf fell .029799 percent short – or about 2,180 votes – of the one and only real challenge he faced in the re-elect.

Bookmakers corner: No doubt mindful of the hundreds of millions of dollars in wagers at stake, Bowen threw a bone to fellow Democrat Brown in her report, rounding up his total to 60 percent; if this generous bit of legerdemain were to stand, Brown would have covered the spread, and each bet placed on either side of the 20-point line would have been a “push,” i.e. a tie.

moneywadNot so fast, sez Calbuzz Las Vegas Bureau Chief and Sporting Life Consultant Vinny “The Vig” Capelli d’Angelo:

“Yo, dipstick” he explained, “I dunno where youse went to school, but da good sisters at Our Lady of Eternal Sleeping Fishes dint raise no dummies – 59.970201 ain’t 60, at least in dis life, if you unnerstan where I’m comin’ from, which you betta.”

Mr. Capelli d’Angelo added that those who took Brown and gave the points have until Wednesday to settle their accounts, in order to maintain full high roller suite benefits, which include kneecap insurance.

Fun with numbers. Two more takeways:

– Neel “Xerxes” Kashkari came thisss close to matching the 2010 vote percentage of eMeg Whitman, who captured 40.9 percent against Brown four years ago (when small party candidates were still listed on the ballot). Plus he got a lot more for his money: each vote cost him $2.38 for the $7 million he spent; eMeg’s miserable failure came at a cost of $38.76 per vote for the $160 million she spent.

– Don’t miss this excellent piece by the consistently excellent John Myers, who notes that the Nov. 4 election generated fewer total votes than any general election for governor since 1978, when an obscure Democratic governor named Brown won re-election over legendary Republican Evelle J. Younger (among the last of a now-extinct breed formerly known as “moderates,” who, while we’re on the subject, also performed the rare, neat trick of receiving four public pensions while still working):

As we pointed out just after the election, the real legacy of the tepid turnout is the amazingly new low threshold for getting an initiative or referendum on the 2016 and 2018 ballot — a threshold that by law is set by the total number of votes cast for governor.

boxershadesAs Boxer World turns: One of Politico’s sizable stable of super flyweight political writers last week provoked a tempest of fatuous speculative pieces in California by reporting the shocking news that Senator Barbara Boxer either will or will not run for re-election in 2016.

Groaning with Beltway-beholds-Left Coast clichés (“California Quake”? Really?), it was a breathless stenographic exercise in listing the name of every ambitious hack in the state, wrapped around a single thin reed of “news”:

Sources close to Boxer, 74, say the outspoken liberal senator will decide over the holidays whether to seek reelection in 2016 and will announce her plans shortly after the new year.

We just checked, and it seems not a single person in the history of the world has ever announced they would run for another term after deciding “over the holidays whether to seek reelection.” In any case, we’re inclined to agree with those who predict the 74-year old Babs will call it quits, as she faces the indignities of life back in the minority.

Still, what passes for evidence in the Politico story beyond “sources say” is pretty thin gruel indeed (groaning cliché? –ed.):

–“Few of her friends believe she will run for a fifth term.” This just in: Politico’s comprehensive scientific survey of Boxer’s mega-thousand friends reveals that less than 10% (or is “few” 8%? or 5%? or? ) believe she will run for another term.

–“Boxer has stopped raising money.” Yes, just imagine how extraordinarily difficult it would be for a four-term U.S. Senator from California to scrape together in only two years the table stakes needed to seek another term against, oh say, Neel Kashkari.

“…and is not taking steps to assemble a campaign.” We now take you to this intimate scene in the Boxer family kitchen: “Goddammit, Stewart, where did you put Rose’s number? How am I supposed to assemble a campaign without it?”

Not to mention Politico’s unfortunate claim that “Democrat Eric Garcetti, the 43-year-old Los Angeles mayor, has had preliminary conversations about a possible campaign with Bill Carrick, a veteran political strategist in the state,” an assertion that Calbuzz can report is utter baloney. We name no names.

acePrince Gavin vs. The Empress of Sacramento: In the not unlikely event that Babs does decide to kick back in Rancho Mirage, the better to churn out more of her stomach-churning page-turning fiction, of course, the early big spin-off story will be: who goes for the seat, Prince Gavin or Queen Kamala?

When Lite Gov. Newsom and AG Harris sit down with mutual consultant Ace Smith to divide up the world, we’re betting Gavin’s the one who’ll be panting to make the leap, given that she, unlike him, has, you know, an actual job.

It is worth noting, however, that Gavin won bragging rights over Kamala last month, by outpolling her in their respective re-election victories by 4,402 votes statewide – 4,107,051 to 4,102,649. This key finding has absolutely no significance for what either of the lean and hungry duo may or may not do in 2016, 2018 or beyond, sources said.

RodotaThe real Dr. Death: In a recent gushy lionization of Smith in the pages of the Hearst Chronicle, young whipper-snapper reporter Carla Marinucci, for about the 816th time, referred to him as  “Dr. Death”.

For the record, the nickname “Dr. Death” in California politics was first given, and thus eternally belongs to, Joe Rodota, the low-key Republican consultant who practically invented systematic data and document-driven opposition research back in pre-internet days; although Joe earned the moniker among insiders even before compiling an impressive storeroom of oppo files on Dianne Feinstein on behalf of Pete Wilson in the 1990 governor’s race, it was during that campaign that the sobriquet went pubic.

As one glance at her youthful person will confirm, of course, Ms. Marinucci was still in grade school at the time, and thus may be excused for not remembering this crucial bit of history.

Rotten-AppleRotten Apples: Finally, we note that while House Speaker in Exile Nancy Pelosi, Delegation Dean Zoe Lofgren and other leaders of the Democrats in Congress hung together against the continuing appropriations resolution that — with last-minute amendments — began to gut Dodd-Frank banking reforms and further weakened McCain-Feingold campaign contribution limits, 10 California Democrats voted with the Republicans. And, of course, with President Obama, who was willing to swallow the poison amendments to avoid even the slim possibility that the government would not be funded.

The notion that somehow this stupid vote would keep the GOP majority in Congress from coming back next year with even worse proposals makes little sense politically. They would not have shut down the government now, but they managed to confirmed yet again that they can slap Obama around with impunity, so be sure they’ll be back with much worse anyway next year.

The Democrat sell-outs from California: U.S. Reps. Ami Bera, Julia Brownley, Jim Costa, Susan Davis, Sam Farr, John Garamendi, George Miller, Scott Peters, Raul Ruiz and Brad Sherman. The next time the government bails out Wall Street, we can thank this pack of weenies.

subscribe to comments RSS

There are no comments for this post

Please, feel free to post your own comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.